An Outside Idea

SE Division Street

The Oregon summer is a great time to get outside and paint or draw. Sometimes I will bring the whole kit and other times I will just grab a sketchbook. No matter the materials you bring a lot of the pleasure comes from taking the time to sit and look at the scene in front of you. Of course I enjoy the day but I also have a mission. To see the scene as an artist. That means to find a composition, values and color harmonies. In other words all the things we need a make picture. Recently I have added a new component to my observation list. I call it “the hook”. This is what attracts me to the scene in the first place. The shadows of trees on the grass, the color of the sunset, the composition of buildings on a street. The goal is to positively identify what attracts me to paint in the first place. Once I conclude the main motivation of a scene I need to remember it as I work and not let less important parts overshadow this. Sometimes this choice is obvious, other times it is not so much. Either way I get more satisfaction from my painting if I keep a strong theme in mind and the first step in to identify it.

Cheers, Steve

Here is a neat article on plein aire painting

An Attitude

When I quit commercial art in 2004 I decided that I would put my effort into being an art teacher. Or rather, an art learner. I wanted to teach art because I really wanted to learn it. I had a successful career in art for over 20 years but felt I still needed to know more about drawing and painting. So I began teaching art classes wherever I could. In these classes I would teach whatever it was I wanted to learn myself! How to draw, composition, color theory and all the rest. All the time I was teaching these lessons I was drawing and painting en plein aire, and won several awards in those competitions.

Plus I was, of course, looking at paintings wherever I found them interesting, museums, galleries, restaurants and living rooms. I looked at whatever I found the most interesting. Historic artists like Turner, Sargent, Yardley, Seago and many more. Because technique is only part of it and these real artists showed me the soul of it. In the lessons I bring it all together. I am happy to talk about, answer questions and demonstrate just about any technique related to drawing and painting and show how they can be used for creative expression. Because that is what it is all about. For artists, technique is a means to an end. That end is well-crafted creative expression.